Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Arizona Community Foundation Provides $250,000 Grant, via Ellis Center for Educational Excellence, to Help Thriving Together Initiative

The Arizona Community Foundation is providing $250,000, through its Ellis Center for Educational Excellence, to support the Thriving Together initiative in Phoenix over the next three years.

The first of its kind in Arizona, the Thriving Together initiative channels the resources of the private and nonprofit sectors to change the course of life for a quarter-million children in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Thriving Together will help make our community stronger by ensuring a better prepared workforce to drive economic growth. 

Thriving Together is patterned after the successful nationwide movement known as StriveTogether, founded in 2006. A subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks, StriveTogether is focused on the success of every child, every step, from cradle to career, by taking a data-driven look at whether programs and processes are aligning to meet collective goals. In 65 communities across the country, partnerships similar to Thriving Together are impacting millions of students and uniting leadership across sectors.

In Arizona, the initiative launched as Thriving Together, and is supported by the anchor entity, Valley of the Sun United Way, a neutral third-party that coordinates initiative activities. The Phoenix collaboration is quickly emerging as one of the fastest of the 65 efforts across the country to get up and running effectively in schools.

Education, business and community leaders from within the boundaries of the partner districts that feed into the Phoenix Union high schools convened to launch the Thriving Together initiative, with work accelerating last summer. Dozens of leaders from more than 60 local organizations – including higher education, social services, community groups, business and industry, government leaders, and parents – are coming together to help children succeed from birth through careers via Thriving Together.

Thriving Together starts when a child is born and concludes when that child succeeds in the workforce. The program will initially focus on four key areas: 3rd grade reading, 8th grade math, college ready high school graduates and college enrollment and attainment. Along the way, the initiative measures progress and works to ensure goals are being met.

Studies have shown that if children are prepared at several key milestones in their educational career, they can stay on a path to success. Those milestones tend to be where young people are most likely to lose their way — it’s where they fall behind, or get frustrated, or suffer from a lack of support. Through the initiative, data is used to identify the effectiveness of a practice and if there’s room to improve, Thriving Together draws on its resources to offer a path to success for students.

“Working with the Arizona Community Foundation to help sustain the momentum we achieved in the classrooms in the first year of Thriving Together is another key step in our mission to put students first and to put them on a path to success,” said Pam Conboy, lead regional president of Wells Fargo and co- chair of Thriving Together. “I would like to thank the Arizona Community Foundation and its Ellis Center for Educational Excellence for this generous contribution and for their dedication to the improvement of education.”

Steve Seleznow, President and CEO of the Arizona Community foundation, said: “Thriving Together is demonstrating how we can help guide our schools through the next 25 years to ensure that all students are prepared for college and the workplace. Thriving Together has big goals and the strategy to meet them. Arizona’s future depends on our ability to make this work.”

For 38 years, the Arizona Community Foundation has worked to improve the quality of life in Arizona by promoting and facilitating effective philanthropy.

For more information, visit www.thrivingtogetheraz.org.

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